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Years that led up to today...


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I've been with my current boyfriend for about 2 years. We went to the same middle school, became really close friends in high school (around 2011), and because of his relationship at the time of like 3/4 years, we kind of drifted apart around 2014. Some sort of social media post led to a conversation, which led to us being inseparable since 2020.

I've been struggling lately though, because he's great. I love him so much. He makes mistakes, but even when things start to turn unhealthy in any of our behaviors, he acknowledges it. He can say the hard things, but he can also sit with his thoughts and come back understanding.

When we began talking again, I had gotten over a tough 5 year relationship, so I started an entirely new life and hadn't spoken to most of the people I went to high school with. Once I graduated, I immediately had to work and eventually moved in with my boyfriend when I was 19 because my family home was being foreclosed on. I paid bills (every single bill. rent, utilities, everything) on my own for 6 months not knowing if I'd be evicted with one mistake and was working for a miserable utilities company that I hated but had to stay at. I couldn't even afford to go to college, and paid out of pocket for a class or two just to have something. All the while, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with heart palpitations and suicidal thoughts. I went through a lot of trauma even before then and I've been putting the pieces together to fully heal. It's been so hard.

I forgotten so much and was so happy to just speak to him again because we were so freaking close and the same. Little throwbacks would come up when he would say I was always there for him on social media or some old, long conversations we used to have when venting. I admired that kid since day one. He was just like me, a weirdo. I wanted to know him since the day I first saw him. Lately, a lot of our high school past has been resurfacing. It's been years, right? But I started to remember how much I cared for him and some hurtful memories began to pop up. He was in an on and off relationship with someone who gaslighted him, and I was there for him to speak to for advice. I remember liking him but was such a tolerant person who accepted any treatment to be real with myself. I put my energy into being mature even then and did what I could to *never* selfishly give him advice against her. I rooted for them hard. To me, he was so admirable. He treated her wonderfully, and if anything, it probably would've changed my entire perspective if he ever crossed a line with me. I had a lil crush, but maintained it without ever being disrespectful and keeping my distance always thinking about how she would feel. After being told about awful cheating and gaslighting, they broke up. During that time, he crossed the friendship line and began flirting with me after 3 years of just being close friends. I was like a lil school girl, talking to his friends for advice and being all giddy updating them on how things were going. He confessed to me he always kinda liked me, we hung out, hooked up (he was probably only like, the second guy I ever hooked up with at the time so this wasn't a light thing for me). Right after, he asked to stay friends, he eventually got back with his ex and after high school, again saw their relationship flaunted everywhereeee, he asked me to hook up again, I said no, and we "drifted" apart. Thinking back on it, I think I'm starting to realize we didn't drift apart. He actually hurt me, and during that time, I dealt with sexual abuse, dealt with losing my family home, dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts and I remember always talking to him through his depression but don't really remember him being there for me. I remember us being so similar, but so different. I went to a pretty wealthy school, but I was not that. His parents were together, mine divorced. He lived in a wealthy neighborhood, mine was being foreclosed on. He was allowed to have people over, I was stuck to my house and actually "snuck" out just to simply hang out with him. He went to college, no student debt, for four years right after and got to experience his life, I had the opposite and had to begin paying bills fresh out of high school and had to pay to go to school online, on my own, still pursuing that degree. What life handed us does not take away a single thing he's been through, but it gives some context, but thinking back on it is so painful. I was always there for him, little ole me who went through abuse and trauma and betrayal, but I was always there. He never checked up on me or reached out. ***ty exes reached outs and I ignored them, but still always had a glimmer of "I meant something to them. *** them, but I meant something" and nothing from him. After going through all of that, and putting it aside to be there for him, I didn't even get a check up. Even after knowing I liked him, he didn't check up to make sure I was okay. After his got back with his ex, I was nothing to him. I'm looking back now and I'm so hurt thinking that's my story, and it's like I remembered it all wrong. It feels like I'm the nice girl who finished last and I'm so internally pissed. He doesn't remember though. All he remembers is his ex, his ex and what she put him through, the ex that unfortunately is also a part of my story because him going back and forgetting about me is what made me feel low, and like a side piece, and like someone was chosen over me, like people who hurt others are the ones that win and people like me are forgotten, easily. I remember him, I remember the good things and the bad, and what he put me through, maybe even unintentionally. It's like my soul feels like he had a chance and waited so long. He had the chance to be there for me when I was going through the worst pain but he wasn't. Was he willing to go on without me in his life forever? After all that time? Was he part of my villain origin story where people like him had no interest and dropped me and I was moving on, and then regressed and now I'm dealing with this?

And also, is it even fair to him?! I'll go there, because it was years ago. The thing is, this isn't something I held on to and slowly threw this up, I've been trying to figure it out and put my thoughts together on where certain unrecognized behaviors from me come from. He thinks it was a lifetime ago. Even my friends remember. I'm 25, we started talking again when I was 22 and that happened when I was 17. I've been having nightmares about it, and having gone through that trauma, me and him have two entirely different processes and understandings and memories. It could be small to him, but this is needed for my healing journey and I'm done telling myself to let it go if it keeps coming up and is obviously something I have to deal with.

I feel so bad for my inner child, and I'm feeling that hurt.

What would you do? How can I process this and in a healthy way try to get past it?

Edited by mablepierce
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MESSED up the timeline, after the first time we hooked up, he asked to stay friends. asked me to hook up again, i said no, he got back with his ex, and then nothing

33 minutes ago, mablepierce said:

He confessed to me he always kinda liked me, we hung out, hooked up (he was probably only like, the second guy I ever hooked up with at the time so this wasn't a light thing for me). Right after, he asked to stay friends, he eventually got back with his ex and after high school, again saw their relationship flaunted everywhereeee, he asked me to hook up again, I said no, and we "drifted" apart.

 

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48 minutes ago, mablepierce said:

inseparable since 2020. He makes mistakes, but even when things start to turn unhealthy in any of our behaviors, he acknowledges it. He can say the hard things.

How is your relationship now? What type of "mistakes" does he make and what kind of "hard things" does he say?

 See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done. Rule out physical causes for the anxiety. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist to deal with obsessive intrusive thoughts, ruminating, and whatever issues you are dealing with.

 Do you live together? What do you mean by "inseparable"? You don't seem happy with him. Are you sure you're compatible and he is not still abusive to you?

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2 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

How is your relationship now? What type of "mistakes" does he make and what kind of "hard things" does he say?

 See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done. Rule out physical causes for the anxiety. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist to deal with obsessive intrusive thoughts, ruminating, and whatever issues you are dealing with.

 Do you live together? What do you mean by "inseparable"? You don't seem happy with him. Are you sure you're compatible and he is not still abusive to you?

Hmmm, those are good questions. 1. Right now, the compatibility is the one thing that brought us close together again and is the one thing that keeps me. It was something I had then that I hadn't had again until we started talking again. 2. He makes the mistake of not understanding and getting frustrated sometimes, and the hard things he says are the logical things when I'm more of the emotional one. My answers can be more emotional, where his is about what makes sense and what doesn't. 3. We have lived together for more than a year and a half. 4. We've been inseparable in the sense that I can be myself around him, and we're best friends. We've even talked about this, and he wants to work with me. 

The being happy part is a complex question, because i'm happy with our compatibility. Our relationship is stable and healthy and full of growth, but triggers that remind me of the past that kinda felt like betrayal is what gets in the way now. So I fear being abandoned, and I fear making mistake of choosing someone who could've chosen me before and doesn't deserve me now.

Thanks for your advice though, I appreciate it so much. I know my trauma can even make this bigger too, and I've been told I could have a personality disorder without being fully diagnosed. The 5 year relationship I was in before I re-met my current boyfriend contributed a lot to my emotional struggles now. I wonder if I would've even been in it if I had the support from people like him, so that's another thought.

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Just now, Wiseman2 said:

You're welcome. Why did you move out/apart? 

I also want to add that this keeps coming up because he's friends with the same friends from hs that new about all of this. There are even songs that talk about it, it's just everywhere. And we still live together right now.

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In a nutshell, he is not the villain and you are not the victim. It comes down to owning your own choices.

When you had a crush on him and wanted more, but chose to just be a friend and stand by, you weren't really being an honest friend because you had an ulterior motive. Basically hoping that he'll see how great you are, dump his evil gf and come be with you. Unfortunately, these things never work out like that in real life. So in reality, he was in love with his gf no matter her issues and kept choosing to be with her. You should have walked away or never gotten involved, but you made a mistake and kept investing and trying.

When they broke up, you pounced at the opportunity you've been waiting for. Again, you chose to put yourself in a bad situation as the rebound girl. Again, it went as expected and he rebounded right off.

These are not sacrifices but choices you were making. Bad choices, unhealthy choices, toxic choices. All you doing you. You can't put your choices on other people. What you can do is accept that these are the things you did back then for whatever reason, like being young and inexperienced with life and so these choices were harsh lessons in what not to do. Don't pretend to be a friend and a doormat to someone when you want more from them and their heart is off with someone else. That's the lesson to take away here. 

As for your toxic ex, more complicated, but ultimately still boils down to choices you were making. Why you chose him, why you chose to stay, why you put up with abuse are questions to explore no matter how unpleasant the answers might be. This is so you can let got of the trauma and start feeling in control of your life and self again. It's about regaining your autonomy as a person - something abusive relationships tend to destroy. The more you understand why you chose to keep staying in an abusive relationship the less like you are to repeat that mistake ever again. A therapist who is experienced with trauma counseling might be very helpful here to unpack things.

As for the current state of your relationship.....you say so many time that you and him are so similar, so compatible and yet you've made a long list of how you are different and how much you resent his better life. Resentment is not a healthy basis for a relationship. Yet more things you need to unpack in therapy and maybe that will help you stay and have a good relationship and maybe that will help you realize that you need to move on.

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I'm sorry for your pain, bitterness and resentment. 

What would I do?  I'd come to the conclusion that life and how people mistreat you will always be unfair which is a given.  However, you learn along the way and you'll learn how to prevent or decrease risky and dicey encounters by becoming a shrewd judge of character.  You'll learn how to navigate yourself more wisely in the future. 

Even though my story is not the same as yours, I too harbor grudges both old and recent.  It is human nature. 

Nowadays, I don't focus on any goodness a person or persons have done for me in the past if their unsavory and despicable behaviors outweigh any fond memories I had of them.  Bad behaviors cancel out any good behaviors.  It helps to always remind yourself of their outrageous nerve to disrespect you because your anger teaches you how to become wiser in how you navigate YOUR behavior, YOUR choices in people who either deserve to be in your life or whom you desire eliminate permanently. 

Giving second, third, fourth or endless chances should be saved for storybooks and movies because it's not practical nor realistic.  People generally will not change for you just like a leopard cannot and will not change its spots for you.  Once you accept this concept and repetitive bad pattern in people, your anger and hurts will evolve and transform into your individual toughness and strength.  You will become more shrewd.  You become smarter.  You'll err on the side of caution because becoming smarter prevents you from getting hurt.

You'll value the quality of consistent, high moral character above all else.  This is how you prevent yourself from getting hurt.  You'll l earn how to prevent and avoid making mistakes when choosing people who don't qualify to be in your life.  Your standards become much higher.  Stronger boundaries will be enforced with unwavering steadfastness. 

What helps me is preoccupying myself with healthy activities such as focusing on my physical health which in turn makes me mentally tougher as opposed to feeling weak and helpless.  I immerse myself with activities which I enjoy such as hobbies (sewing / crafts / cooking), reading library books and occasionally watching great movies or documentaries.  Whenever I'm super busy doing what I enjoy, I don't have brain space for people who've hurt me sorely.  I push them out and let them live their own lives while I do likewise.  I surround myself with stable, sound, honorable people who know the definition of integrity and treating others with utmost honor, respect and dignity.  I control what I can and this makes me feel safe and protected from people who've gone out of their way to harm me.  I create a safe haven bubble for myself which gives me security and peace of mind.  

I hope you will continue adding extra job skills to your resume by taking night classes or online classes.  Financial independence will give you freedom and more choices in life. 

Beware of your current boyfriend though.  Even though you love him, forgive him and he understands his wrongdoing, if this type of behavior is a repetitive, tiresome pattern, eventually you'll grow wary and weary of him.  Trust starts to dwindle and decrease over time. 

Since you share mutual social circles with the other guy, you'll have to readjust yourself and remove your emotions because emotions cloud your judgment.  Be stoic.  Remain polite yet distant.  This you can control.  Carry yourself with poise and aplomb.  Hopefully, you can limit in person mutual socializing and if you can't or won't, then be brave and courageous by holding your head high.  Stiff upper lip and all that as opposed to an outburst and heated argument.  Or, gradually build a new set of very moral friends without him in it.  Those are boundaries for yourself. 

A long time ago, someone told me this:  "Don't get hurt.  Play your cards smarter."  I've since taken heed and I hope you will, too.

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51 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

In a nutshell, he is not the villain and you are not the victim. It comes down to owning your own choices.

When you had a crush on him and wanted more, but chose to just be a friend and stand by, you weren't really being an honest friend because you had an ulterior motive. Basically hoping that he'll see how great you are, dump his evil gf and come be with you. Unfortunately, these things never work out like that in real life. So in reality, he was in love with his gf no matter her issues and kept choosing to be with her. You should have walked away or never gotten involved, but you made a mistake and kept investing and trying.

When they broke up, you pounced at the opportunity you've been waiting for. Again, you chose to put yourself in a bad situation as the rebound girl. Again, it went as expected and he rebounded right off.

These are not sacrifices but choices you were making. Bad choices, unhealthy choices, toxic choices. All you doing you. You can't put your choices on other people. What you can do is accept that these are the things you did back then for whatever reason, like being young and inexperienced with life and so these choices were harsh lessons in what not to do. Don't pretend to be a friend and a doormat to someone when you want more from them and their heart is off with someone else. That's the lesson to take away here. 

As for your toxic ex, more complicated, but ultimately still boils down to choices you were making. Why you chose him, why you chose to stay, why you put up with abuse are questions to explore no matter how unpleasant the answers might be. This is so you can let got of the trauma and start feeling in control of your life and self again. It's about regaining your autonomy as a person - something abusive relationships tend to destroy. The more you understand why you chose to keep staying in an abusive relationship the less like you are to repeat that mistake ever again. A therapist who is experienced with trauma counseling might be very helpful here to unpack things.

As for the current state of your relationship.....you say so many time that you and him are so similar, so compatible and yet you've made a long list of how you are different and how much you resent his better life. Resentment is not a healthy basis for a relationship. Yet more things you need to unpack in therapy and maybe that will help you stay and have a good relationship and maybe that will help you realize that you need to move on.

i hear you. when he broke up with his ex, I was so naive. i didn’t understand love, and that was his first and after falling in love after that situation, i understand. he didn’t understand it fully either, which is why he accepted being cheated on and didn’t understand how to go about our friendship, but my naive choices didn’t result in hurting him. i was far from perfect but i can say with confidence i didn’t have ulterior motives. i was just someone who got along so well with another person and didn’t know how to feel. if you felt that way about someone and they told you they liked you, how would you have responded? i guess my thing is, i get it allll. but what bothers me is, he loved me as a friend. he abandoned me as one easily, so regardless of his relationship, what about my friendship that tried to help him through that? it meant nothing. and not feeling hurt by that sucks, and i know i gotta go to therapy and handle it. just lifeeee

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You'll learn over time who is a decent human being and who is not.  It's part of your maturing process and growing up.  You observe people with a sharper, more shrewd lens from now on.  You size them up based upon your negative experiences so it was not all in vain.  Your key takeaway was wisdom gained. 

Think of it as a car accident.  From now on, you'll drive safer, take precautions and know how to play it safe in order to prevent future accidents, mistakes and foolish distractions in order to have an uneventful life (meaning zero unnecessary angst). 

I no longer respond to stupidity.  I don't deal because they're a waste of my precious time, energy and resources.  Those types of animals do not deserve to occupy my brain space.  I have better things to do with my life.  I want to enjoy life for myself and with moral people in it. 

Don't question nor dwell on how he loved you as a friend.  That's not love for a friend.  A real friend treats you with respect and as if you matter.  Know the difference. 

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7 minutes ago, mablepierce said:

i hear you. when he broke up with his ex, I was so naive. i didn’t understand love, and that was his first and after falling in love after that situation, i understand. he didn’t understand it fully either, which is why he accepted being cheated on and didn’t understand how to go about our friendship, but my naive choices didn’t result in hurting him. i was far from perfect but i can say with confidence i didn’t have ulterior motives. i was just someone who got along so well with another person and didn’t know how to feel. if you felt that way about someone and they told you they liked you, how would you have responded? i guess my thing is, i get it allll. but what bothers me is, he loved me as a friend. he abandoned me as one easily, so regardless of his relationship, what about my friendship that tried to help him through that? it meant nothing. and not feeling hurt by that sucks, and i know i gotta go to therapy and handle it. just lifeeee

So here is a different perspective for you. When I give of my time, support, or attention, I give freely. Meaning if they never return that, I'm fine with it. I never give more than I'm willing to give precisely because it can and will lead to resentments.

Think of it like loaning money to a friend. General rule of thumb is don't loan what you can't afford to lose. So if a friend asks me for $300 and I don't care if they never pay it back and it won't affect our friendship if they don't, then I will "lend" them the money. I don't see it as a loan but rather as a gift and if they ever do pay back I'll be pleasantly surprised. However, if I feel that it's not money I can afford to lose and will resent them if they don't pay back, then I will decline lending. This concept goes for anything you do in your friendship. Whether it's lending a hand, or an ear, or giving advice, or whatever. If you give so much that you will end up resentful then don't give that much of yourself.

What's in bold is very much you framing it for yourself as return on your investment and since he stepped away instead of paying back....you are full of resentment about it and that will and is poisoning your relationship with him right now.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you should give and give but never expect anything out of your friends. You should expect reciprocation in ways that make you happy and feeling like the friendship/relationship is equal where nobody is taking advantage. What I'm saying is that you have to learn to have boundaries to how much you are willing to give instead of going too far and then getting angry that the other person didn't do the same. Give freely to a limit and then stop. If you feel there is no reciprocation or you feel unequal, stop. Does that make sense?

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1 minute ago, Cherylyn said:

You'll learn over time who is a decent human being and who is not.  It's part of your maturing process and growing up.  You observe people with a sharper, more shrewd lens from now on.  You size them up based upon your negative experiences so it was not all in vain.  Your key takeaway was wisdom gained. 

Think of it as a car accident.  From now on, you'll drive safer, take precautions and know how to play it safe in order to prevent future accidents, mistakes and foolish distractions in order to have an uneventful life (meaning zero unnecessary angst). 

I no longer respond to stupidity.  I don't deal because they're a waste of my precious time, energy and resources.  Those types of animals do not deserve to occupy my brain space.  I have better things to do with my life.  I want to enjoy life for myself and with moral people in it. 

Don't question nor dwell on how he loved you as a friend.  That's not love for a friend.  A real friend treats you with respect and as if you matter.  Know the difference. 

yup, that definitely hurts. aside from it all, aside from the entire relationship, I was still once a person in his life during that time, and he confused me, which i probably would accept. but just, no attempt to recognize it or care enough to. and then i feel left behind without him really considering that or probably even caring. so how do i accept that as me right now, grown because of these types of situations, when i was once that girl? and it hurts me because i want to start a life with him. because i love him so much today, that’s why it hurts me. as the feelings i feel today get stronger, the louder this whole thing just comes up from the back of mind. thanks for your response ❤️

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Just now, DancingFool said:

So here is a different perspective for you. When I give of my time, support, or attention, I give freely. Meaning if they never return that, I'm fine with it. I never give more than I'm willing to give precisely because it can and will lead to resentments.

Think of it like loaning money to a friend. General rule of thumb is don't loan what you can't afford to lose. So if a friend asks me for $300 and I don't care if they never pay it back and it won't affect our friendship if they don't, then I will "lend" them the money. I don't see it as a loan but rather as a gift and if they ever do pay back I'll be pleasantly surprised. However, if I feel that it's not money I can afford to lose and will resent them if they don't pay back, then I will decline lending. This concept goes for anything you do in your friendship. Whether it's lending a hand, or an ear, or giving advice, or whatever. If you give so much that you will end up resentful then don't give that much of yourself.

What's in bold is very much you framing it for yourself as return on your investment and since he stepped away instead of paying back....you are full of resentment about it and that will and is poisoning your relationship with him right now.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you should give and give but never expect anything out of your friends. You should expect reciprocation in ways that make you happy and feeling like the friendship/relationship is equal where nobody is taking advantage. What I'm saying is that you have to learn to have boundaries to how much you are willing to give instead of going too far and then getting angry that the other person didn't do the same. Give freely to a limit and then stop. If you feel there is no reciprocation or you feel unequal, stop. Does that make sense?

makes complete sense. what’s funny is, i know this and used that to grow into the person i am today. the way i’ve grown from my trauma is unbelievable. when we re met, it was like everything i didn’t get out of my abusive relationship, he just brought me out of such a dark time. so as i love him more and we get closer, this whole thing stings, because imagine it happened to you and you used that for your own growth, kinda forgot how you learned it, and restarted an amazing relationship with the person who in a past life made it one of your hardest life lessons? get how this sucks so bad? and having to learn that at 15 sucked, learned the hard way but sucked. but im just struggling with it now, and that’s why im here 🙃

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5 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

So here is a different perspective for you. When I give of my time, support, or attention, I give freely. Meaning if they never return that, I'm fine with it. I never give more than I'm willing to give precisely because it can and will lead to resentments.

Think of it like loaning money to a friend. General rule of thumb is don't loan what you can't afford to lose. So if a friend asks me for $300 and I don't care if they never pay it back and it won't affect our friendship if they don't, then I will "lend" them the money. I don't see it as a loan but rather as a gift and if they ever do pay back I'll be pleasantly surprised. However, if I feel that it's not money I can afford to lose and will resent them if they don't pay back, then I will decline lending. This concept goes for anything you do in your friendship. Whether it's lending a hand, or an ear, or giving advice, or whatever. If you give so much that you will end up resentful then don't give that much of yourself.

What's in bold is very much you framing it for yourself as return on your investment and since he stepped away instead of paying back....you are full of resentment about it and that will and is poisoning your relationship with him right now.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you should give and give but never expect anything out of your friends. You should expect reciprocation in ways that make you happy and feeling like the friendship/relationship is equal where nobody is taking advantage. What I'm saying is that you have to learn to have boundaries to how much you are willing to give instead of going too far and then getting angry that the other person didn't do the same. Give freely to a limit and then stop. If you feel there is no reciprocation or you feel unequal, stop. Does that make sense?

but you are absolutely right. setting boundaries, obviously not using this to stump my growth or his is what’s important for me and i know this. i have to bring it up to not hold it in but i’m venting here because i’m strategic with how i communicate it with him. 

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5 minutes ago, mablepierce said:

yup, that definitely hurts. aside from it all, aside from the entire relationship, I was still once a person in his life during that time, and he confused me, which i probably would accept. but just, no attempt to recognize it or care enough to. and then i feel left behind without him really considering that or probably even caring. so how do i accept that as me right now, grown because of these types of situations, when i was once that girl? and it hurts me because i want to start a life with him. because i love him so much today, that’s why it hurts me. as the feelings i feel today get stronger, the louder this whole thing just comes up from the back of mind. thanks for your response ❤️

You don't accept.  His behavior is non-negotiable.  His behavior or behaviors was a real deal breaker for you.  Shift and change the way you think.  This is how you become smarter, wiser, stronger and tougher.  Transform your hurts into street smarts.  Transform your pain into "live and learn and I'll judge character more shrewdly in the future" type mindset.  Prioritize moral character at all levels; not just when times were good.  Don't accept when people are not up to snuff.  Set your standards higher.  This is how your hurts decrease and diminish to the point of nil. 

Transform your hurts into anger.  Anger causes you to rethink how unfair you were treated and then you will feel numb because intelligence in your brain takes over.  💗

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so, just kinda thinking out loud, i guess i don’t know what type of love to go off of? how could i tell he loves me? last time he said he loved me as a friend, he was cool not speaking to me for years. but now, how do i gauge his love? does he love me the way i know i deserve and always deserved (even in friendship)? does he even acknowledge it, regret it? he loves me today after my growth, but left me during the process, and it’s like my heart is just upset about it as we get deeper into it

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11 minutes ago, mablepierce said:

so, just kinda thinking out loud, i guess i don’t know what type of love to go off of? how could i tell he loves me? last time he said he loved me as a friend, he was cool not speaking to me for years. but now, how do i gauge his love? does he love me the way i know i deserve and always deserved (even in friendship)? does he even acknowledge it, regret it? he loves me today after my growth, but left me during the process, and it’s like my heart is just upset about it as we get deeper into it

I'm sorry to be blunt but he didn't love you and he doesn't love you now.  Of course, it hurts to realize this.  A person who truly loves you treats you with consistent, permanent, responsible love, grace, kindness, consideration and all virtues you hold dear.  Anything less than those acts is not called "love." 

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15 hours ago, mablepierce said:

so, just kinda thinking out loud, i guess i don’t know what type of love to go off of? how could i tell he loves me? last time he said he loved me as a friend, he was cool not speaking to me for years. but now, how do i gauge his love? does he love me the way i know i deserve and always deserved (even in friendship)? does he even acknowledge it, regret it? he loves me today after my growth, but left me during the process, and it’s like my heart is just upset about it as we get deeper into it

I think you're relying too heavily on psychobabble and abstractions about love and about parts of your body like your heart that are "upset" and -especially about love as a feeling vs. loving as giving.  Perhaps a therapist will help you distill it to basic common sense and remove a lot of the "complications" that are self-created.  

It's that complicated when a person -as you are doing -tries to fit a square peg into a round hole whether that's because the two people are incompatible or one person is into the other person romantically but it's not reciprocated -or at a wildly different level etc.  Two songs come to mind - Billy Joel's You're My Home and the song Do you Love Me from Fiddler on the Roof -they're worth actually listening to and not just reading the lyrics.  Each hopefully will resonate with you about what a healthful relationship looks like.  

You're getting in your own way by resorting to these big words and abstractions.  It's much much simpler.  

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22 hours ago, mablepierce said:

so, just kinda thinking out loud, i guess i don’t know what type of love to go off of? how could i tell he loves me? last time he said he loved me as a friend, he was cool not speaking to me for years. but now, how do i gauge his love? does he love me the way i know i deserve and always deserved (even in friendship)? does he even acknowledge it, regret it? he loves me today after my growth, but left me during the process, and it’s like my heart is just upset about it as we get deeper into it

How can you tell if a man loves you?  He acts like a real man instead of a boy who hadn't grown up yet.  Real and true love is based upon how you are treated.  Is he considerate?  Helpful with and without being asked?  Is he trustworthy?  Is he the type who will betray you?  Does he treat you with respect?  Is he honest or deceitful?  Does he engage in gaslighting?  Does he use habitual foul language?  Does he control you?  Does he treat you as if you're his property?  Is he a moral man?  Does he speak and write with respect?  Do his actions reflect a decent or indecent human being?  Is he selfless?  How does he treat others?  Is he empathetic or does he lack empathy?  Is he emotionally intelligent?  Is he mature or immature?  Is he impulsive or is he careful with his words both verbal and written and his actions?  You gauge this type of love by answering all of these questions to yourself in your mind.  These are common sense questions to ask yourself.  It's not psycho mumbo jumbo but serious questions you need to ask yourself and what type of life YOU want with a man.  These answers for yourself impacts YOUR life and you decide what you want in a man.  The choice is yours.  You need to cover all of that. 

I have two brothers-in-law (BIL).  Outwardly, if they keep their mouths shut, they are perceived as normal.  Then, the minute they open their mouths and act upon it, they're straight out of a 'Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde' movie.  👺 What you see is what you get which is downright scary. 👹 They're deliberately unkind, inappropriate, one of them does all that plus he spews four letter words like air pollution, both of them are ___________s and have no qualms mistreating and humiliating their wives plus they do not treat others with respect.  They love to downgrade others and humiliate them to the core.  They interrupt constantly.  They must've been raised in a cave.  They're obnoxiously rude beyond your imagination and act like animals.  They run their wives haggard because they're not helpful types.  These types of wives put up a stoic front because they're stuck yet internally, they're unhappy because their lives are harder than it needs to be. 

My husband is the complete opposite of them and makes me feel grateful all the more because he stands out from the crowd.  Finding him was like finding a needle in a haystack.  Gems are out there if you're willing to be patient, very picky, choosy and set your standards are very high.     

My late father was a violent alcoholic.  He was extremely selfish and wreaked havoc in my mother's marriage to him and family life was miserable.  I vowed never to make my mother's mistake and I had not. 

My cousin's husband is another bad apple. 

My brothers-in-law are not the type of men I want to be married to.  Those types of men make my skin crawl and shutter. 

What is love?  As yourself what type of father will he be for my child?  (If you want a family)  What type of husband will he be for me?  Where does he see himself in 10 years?  It's not rocket science to think of these types of questions in your brain when you've had time to think long and hard. 

Often times love is blind.  You prefer to see only what you want and ignore the rest regarding personality and character.  Ignoring the rest is what gets you into trouble eventually. 

If a man is an alarming red flag in your brain, that red flag is there for a reason.  Take heed because you'll thank yourself later and save yourself a lot of unnecessary angst and trouble later.   

 

Edited by Cherylyn
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One problem with allowing someone to confide horror stories about the one they love is, these people may want to vent, but they're also pretty humiliated by what they've put up with. Even more so when they head straight back to that toxic person after a breakup.

The very things they've told you make is difficult, if not impossible, to face you again after they kiss and make up with the source of their problems.

Add a hookup to that, and it's extra-awkward, and add to that that the abused one in this case was a guy? That's explosive.

He didn't own the emotional maturity to do anything with all of this but scram from you. His own drama and embarrassment loomed too large for him to consider you, your feelings and what your life might have become after the fact.

Guilty and embarrassed people don't tend to reach out to check up on the people who know them to be guilty and embarrassed.

You were both young, and you both made bad choices. You involved yourself with someone who was rebounding and in no position to invest in someone else, and he took you up on that until he killed the deal with his return to his ex.

Now you get to decide whether or not this guy has grown and changed enough from that person to move beyond this, and it would be perfectly reasonable to hire a therapist to help you sort through it.

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You need to consider that your past unhealthy experiences have not been fully explored or resolved.  Until you learn why you were a part of a challenging upbringing and toxic relationships you are only bound to repeat the patterns until you take the time to heal and learn otherwise.  It's all you know.

You will gravitate and attract equally challenging relationships.  They tend to present themselves over and over as means to teach lessons we haven't yet learned.  We tend to gravitate to what is familiar.  Being treated poorly is what's familiar to you.

You have some work to do.  It takes time and it's well worth it.  As you have just described, your bad experiences shaped you and you take them into future relationships.  It really doesn't get better until you take the time out to learn the lessons the challenging experiences are trying to teach you.

The good thing is you are here asking questions.  That's a powerful start to a journey that can take you to the other side to making better choices and having healthy, meaningful relationships.  Not only with others, but yourself.

Go back and reread your thread.  You listed gross incompatibilities only to say how compatible you two are.   Acknowledge the inconsistencies.  Maybe it's wishful thinking.  It's ok.  We've all done it, until we learn better.

Whenever I have a repeated challenge, I step back and ask myself "what is this trying to teach me?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

You have learned to let go the first time.  Honestly, I don't think he did anything wrong, and you are punishing him for your expectations and thoughts and wishes.  I would write him a long ass letter.  Read it outloud to yourself, and burn it, and make the choice to move forward.  Stop letting your high school self call the shots for your present self.  Because no one, even God can change the past.

What helps is learning what you really want and need out of a relationship.  Figuring your life goals and seeing if he is the right person for you.  And the other part, find a bigger problem to solve.  A few things I read is going to college.  Focusing on just what could have been, should have been, will never help you.

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